Almost six years ago, the last time the Washington establishment tried and failed to shove "comprehensive immigration reform" down the nation's collective throat, the unemployment rate was 4.5 percent. In some quarters that's considered "full employment."
Now we have a much higher unemployment rate of 7.9 percent, 48 previous months during which the rate has been 7.8 percent or higher, and indications of job-market pain we haven't seen since the Great Depression. Despite all of this, immigration "reform," more properly characterized as "de facto amnesty for illegal aliens," appears at this point to be on track towards passage.
Far more even than the recent termination of his "jobs council," which met only four times in two years and accomplished nothing, President Barack Obama's grim determination to push through "reform" in such persistently dire circumstances makes a mockery of his assertions that he cares about economic progress, and that "the most important thing we can do is to make sure that we are creating jobs in this country."
Washington's original attempt to circumvent the nation's clear will during the second quarter of 2007 ultimately failed when the Senate rejected the related bill by a vote of 46-53 on June 28.
Just a few days earlier, the measure's passage seemed assured. What happened? In an effort which in retrospect was a precursor of the longer-lasting and still quite powerful Tea Party movement, deeply concerned Americans rose up in massive numbers and demanded a rejection of what became known, largely as a result of efforts by extraordinary and tireless columnist and blogger Michelle Malkin, as "shamnesty." Everyday Americans' powers of persuasion were such that when the bill's failure became a foregone conclusion on the Senate floor, both senators from Ohio retreated from days-earlier public positions of strong support and voted "no."
Then-Senator Barack Obama voted "yes." Though that vote kept him in good standing with the radical amnesty advocates at La Raza, the historical record shows that Obama played a critical role in the bill's ultimate rejection when he voted several weeks earlier, as the late Robert Novak noted, to include a "poison pill" provision in the law "aimed at emasculating the essential guest-worker program."
Obama's move was then seen as "surprising" (again via Novak):
because he had participated, uninvited, one time in the bipartisan negotiating process. He had demanded and won a provision permitting immigrants to stay on the job after being designated "not employable" by the government under the new system until their appeals were exhausted.
In hindsight, Obama's about-face, as has seemingly been the case throughout his career as a legislator and then as President, was about enhancing his career. His maneuver, as noted, made the passage of immigration "reform" unlikely. Why would he do this? Obama and his handlers apparently calculated that they had to keep the "need" for "reform" available as a campaign issue during his nomination fight against Hillary Clinton. If the immigration issue had gone away, as would have been the case if "reform" had passed, Obama's ability to mobilize support among Hispanics and other groups heavily supported by the then-influential radicals at ACORN would have been seriously compromised.
The cynical calculations continued into Obama's presidency. Obama correctly believed that his Hispanic supporters, after grousing a bit about his inaction, wouldn't abandon him at reelection time if he ignored immigration "reform" during his first term. He was right.
Since the 2007 rejection of "shamnesty," the government has had ample opportunity to do the one thing it can do without the benefit of legislation: enforce and secure our country's borders. Instead, under Obama, as a suit brought last summer by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents shows, border enforcement has turned into a national laughingstock:
The agents allege that President Obama’s policies have reduced the number of illegal aliens who will be deported back to their country of origin.
The ICE agents allege in their lawsuit that ... they must choose between enforcing federal laws and being disciplined by their commanders, or obeying their supervisors thereby violating oaths of office and a Clinton administration law -- passed by a bi-partisan Congress in 1996 -- that mandates the deportation of illegal aliens.
... In the 20-page legal complaint, the agents state they’ve been ordered to ignore an entire category of illegal aliens. The agents allege they were told to stop requesting proof of citizenship or immigration status.
Almost no other country tolerates a situation where non-citizens can enter their country and stay with virtual impunity -- certainly not Mexico, whose sanctions against those who it finds are in their country illegally are especially harsh.
Absent controlled borders, efforts to provide a "path to citizenship" to the millions who knowingly entered and stayed in the U.S. illegally will not only cause even larger waves of illegals to arrive so they can someday start down the same "path." It will also enable those who attain citizenship to bring in millions of spouses, children, and other relatives. The strain on schools, public-health systems, social services, infrastructure, and government finances at all levels will be incalculable.
With unemployment already stubbornly high and seemingly destined to stay there as long as Obama occupies the White House, where will all of these new arrivals find jobs? The President and those who support "shamnesty" are, despite their platitudes, unconcerned about such things. Securing a permanent leftist governing majority is far more important than fixing a largely broken economy.
More and more, immigration "reform" looks like yet another application of the system-breaking Cloward-Piven strategy.
Conservatives who go along with this deeply misguided scheme may not like the verdict their voters render when they are next up for reelection.
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